Lesson 12

Desire of Nations

(Isaiah 59-61)
Print this lesson | Bookmark/Share:

Introduction: Are you troubled about the terrible things you read in the newspapers and see on television? Is there any end in sight to the problem of sin? If there is, what is it? Looking down the long ages of earth's history, Isaiah reveals God's ultimate solution to the sin problem. Let's dive into our study and find out about God's plans!

  1. The Problem


    1. Read Isaiah 59:1-2. Isaiah writes about God's arms and God's ears. What do God's "arms" symbolize? (A person works with their arms. This is a reference to the power of God.)


      1. What, then, does it mean for God to have "short arms?" (God lacks the power to get the job done.)


      2. What do God's ears symbolize? (A person hears with his ears. This is a reference to God's ability to hear us.)


        1. What, then, does it mean for God to have "dull ears?" (It means God lacks the ability to hear us.)


      3. What do these two verses suggest is the real problem and what do these verses suggest is a false description of the problem? (The real problem separating God from humans is human sin and not any lack of power or perception on God's part.)


    2. The next two verses continue to describe the sins of the people. Read Isaiah 59:5-6. What is a "viper?" (A snake.)


      1. What do snakes represent in the Bible? (Sin and Satan. Compare Genesis 3:13-15 with Revelation 12:9-10 and Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10.)


        1. The people described here ( Isaiah 59:5) "hatch the eggs of vipers." This seems symbolic. What do you think it symbolizes? (That these people produce sins. If snakes represent Satan and sin, then the eggs of snakes seem to represent the reproduction of sin.)


        2. What do you think it means to "eat" the egg of a snake? (To accept the influence of sinners. One group is producing sin and the other group is accepting that sin into their lives.)


        3. What is an "adder?" (Another type of snake.)


        4. In my experience, you have to break an egg to eat it. At the same time, if you break an egg prematurely, nothing is ever hatched. It never comes alive. Does the last half of verse 5 make any sense to you? (Again we have the symbolism of "eating" the snake's egg - which means to accept the sin. Accepting sin into your life results in you becoming a snake. Sinners reproduce sin in others.)


      2. What is the purpose ( Isaiah 59:6) of a spider's web? (To catch something to kill and eat.)


        1. Why would Isaiah suggest that you can't use a spider's web for clothing? (This may again be a reference to Genesis 3:6-10. Sin can never make us whole. Sin can never make us right. Sin can never give us peace. Sin is only a trap that brings death.)


  2. The Promise


    1. Let's skip down a few verses. Read Isaiah 59:15b-16. What was God's conclusion about the sinful nature of humans? (He was not happy about it. He decided that someone must do something about sin.)


      1. Who did God find to intervene against the sin problem? (Himself! That "arm" that we discussed earlier in Isaiah 59:1 was not too short to "work salvation.")


    2. Read Isaiah 59:17. What other verses in the Bible come to mind when you read this?


      1. Read Ephesians 6:13-17.


      2. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:8.


      3. Isaiah 59 speaks about God pulling on the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation. How did we (the evil people we discussed above) get to that point in Ephesians and 1 Thessalonians that we could put on God's powerful spiritual armor?


    3. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11. In Isaiah 59:16 God was looking for someone to intervene against sin. Who ended up intervening for us? (In Isaiah 59 the suggestion is that God intends to intervene for us. 1 Thessalonians makes it very clear that Jesus is the member of the Godhead who intervened and made it possible for us to receive salvation by faith.)


    4. Read Isaiah 61:1. Who do you think is speaking here? Of what does this remind you? (Read Luke 4:16-21. We find Jesus reading this in the synagogue and then stating that it refers to Him! This is further evidence that Jesus is the One who intervened on our behalf against sin.)


      1. How did Jesus "release prisoners" and give "freedom" to "captives?" (He freed us from eternal death - the penalty for our sins.)


    5. Read Isaiah 61:2. Given the background of human sinfulness, and God's decision to intervene to save us, what do you think are the "year of the Lord's favor" and the "day of vengeance of our God?"


    6. Read Isaiah 61:3. When will this happen? (When the final chapter of our earth's history comes to an end. This is the conclusion to God's intervention on our behalf against sin. Jesus came to earth, and by His life and death He released us from sin. If we accept what He has done for us, we enter into His favor and enjoy the blessings of verse 3 eternally. If we reject Him, then we are destroyed in the day of His vengeance.)


  3. The Fulfillment


    1. Read Isaiah 62:10. Add the commands of verse 10 to the promises we just studied. What do you think is taking place? What is going on? (Someone wants to make it easy for newcomers to show up. They hustle people through the gates, they fix up the roads, they remove stones that might stub visitors' toes, they hoist a big "Welcome" sign over the city.)


    2. Read Isaiah 62:11. Who is coming? You or Jesus? (Verse 10 says "prepare the way for the people." Verse 11 says, "See, your Savior comes." It seems that both the saved and Jesus are coming to the city.)


    3. Let's add Isaiah 62:12 to our discussion. Does this clarify who is coming? (No commentary that I read seemed to agree with me, but I think the key is in the last part of verse 11: "His reward is with Him and His recompense accompanies Him." I think these verses have a parallel symbolism. On one hand we prepare for Jesus to come again. On the other hand, the New Jerusalem in Heaven prepares for our arrival. The "reward" and "recompense" seem to be the reward and recompense of Jesus. The redeemed are the reward and recompense of Jesus. Therefore, I see a picture of us getting ready for Jesus to come to earth again and then the New Jerusalem getting ready for Jesus(and us!)to arrive. We come as new citizens!)


    4. Read Isaiah 60:18. We are jumping around a bit in Isaiah, but I think we are staying on the same topic. Are we inside a city here? (Yes. It seems so because the text refers to walls and gates.)


      1. Why would you call walls "salvation" and gates,"praise?" (Because they are saving you from bad things happening outside the walls and gates.)


        1. Is it possible to understand this text without any literal walls or gates? (Yes. That your salvation and praise are what protect you from bad things "outside.")


    5. Read Isaiah 60:19-20. Does this sound like a real, live city to you?


      1. Have you ever heard someplace else in the Bible of this idea of Jesus being the light of the city? (Read Revelation 21:22 through 22:5. John the Revelator is clearly describing the New Jerusalem in Heaven. This teaches us that Isaiah is writing about the New Jerusalem.)


    6. Friend, God has used His powerful "arm" to intervene to save you. Will you repent and accept His offer of salvation? As we have seen, God has a new and wonderful home for those who accept His offer!


  4. Next week: Rebirth of Planet Earth.

To receive the Bible Study of the Week by e-mail, please enter your e-mail address:

 Subscribe in a reader

GoBible.org Kindle Edition

Read the GoBible studies on your Amazon Kindle. Your subscription includes wireless delivery of the Bible Study of the Week via Amazon Whispernet.

Lessons on Isaiah

Attention Translators!

Would you like to help us share the Bible Study of the Week with others? At present, the Bible Study of the Week can be read in ten languages: Bosnian, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish. We welcome serious volunteers who are willing to spend the time each week to translate the lessons from English into another language. We are particularly interested in having the lesson translated into Portuguese. Please contact us if you would like to volunteer to translate.

Bible Study Software

Bruce Cameron reviews PC Study Bible and Logos, the two Bible study software programs he uses to prepare the GoBible lessons. Click here to learn more about these helpful Bible study tools.

(The above ads are provided by Google. The individual advertisements are not approved or endorsed by GoBible.org. If you see an ad that you believe to be inappropriate, please contact us and we will ask Google to remove it.)